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CONTENTS 2015 • VOLUME 12 • NO. 5

features 50 From Old to New Mississippi’s bed and breakfasts, all unique

64 The town of Tudor Wilson, Arkansas’ architectural wonders

56 Michael Davidson Mississippi’s stone cutting master

departments 14 Living Well Hernando Dental Group’s Dr. Azim quells root canal fears 19 Notables Loeb’s Aaron Petree and his impact on Memphis 22 Ex Art Introducing Keith Dotson Photography 26 Ex Books A look at Mississippi’s courthouses

46 Greater Goods 70 Homegrown Helena, Miss. repurposed 72 Southern Harmony Shovels & Rope 74 Table Talk Corinth’s Vicari Italian Grill

30 Into the Wild Sailing on Arkabutla

76 In Good Spirits Hemingway Daiquiri

34 Ex Cuisine Amazing Avocados

78 Exploring Events

38 Ex Destination See Savannah, Georgia

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42 A Day Away Greenwood

80 Reflections Stuff

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editor’s note }

may

Amazed Anew I’m amazed.

After almost 15 years traveling Mississippi and the Southeast, I am continually amazed at the number of places rich in history, architecture, and culture. While that statement may sound as if I hold low expectations, that’s not the intent. Rather, with an issue like this DeSoto, I think…how could I have not encountered this place or story before? A good case in point is Wilson, Arkansas. Here’s a town with a fascinating history that’s not far from us. Tudor architecture in Arkansas? It’s a testament to what one person’s vision can impart upon our historical landscapes as the Wilsons set in motion a concept nearly 100 years ago. After staying with Andrew and David at The Bazinsky House in Vicksburg, I couldn’t help feeling that I was chatting with more history makers. Where others see blight, they see promise. Just like Jennifer and Jason on the coast, all these folks are investing their own dollars and dreams in properties and towns---building tomorrow’s historical and architectural paths. Just up the road in Memphis, Aaron Petree’s work will leave his handprint on Memphis for generations. Due to his keen diligence, Memphis’ iconic Overton Square is enjoying a renaissance that truly reflects the values of the local Midtown mind. Meanwhile, I’m equally grateful and excited to see so many artists at

May 2015 • Vol. 12 No.5

PUBLISHER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR Adam Mitchell

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER & ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Paula Mitchell

EDITOR Karen Ott Mayer

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Virginia Jenkins

work, capturing the fading architectural beauties while documenting our most iconic ones. While Keith Dotson hunts down the forgotten, abandoned sites through his lens, Tracy Ward has compiled an important visual history of Mississippi’s courthouses in his new book, “Historic Courthouse Architecture of Mississippi”. Without artists continually documenting our world, our ability to see our own evolutions diminishes greatly. Let me stop here so you can keep reading. And when you’re done, I hope this issue of DeSoto leaves you feeling just a shade more amazed. Enjoy May!

Karen on the cover Vicksburg, Mississippi’s Old Court House Museum graces the cover of our Art & Architecture issue. The building is perched on one of the highest hills in Vicksburg on land given by the family of the city’s founder, Newitt Vick. Find out more about courthouses like this one in “Historic Courthouse Architecture of Mississippi” on page 26.

CONTRIBUTORS Karen Ott Mayer Adam Mitchell Paula Mitchell Bobby L. Hickman Jill Gleeson Corey Latta Andrea Brown Ross J. Eric Eckard James Richardson Lili De Barbieri Lazelle Jones Dr. Adham Azim

PUBLISHED BY DeSoto Media Co.

2375 Memphis St. Ste 205 Hernando, MS 38632 662.429.4617 Fax 662.449.5813

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© 2015 DeSoto Media Co. DeSoto Magazine must give permission for any material contained herein to be reproduced in any manner. Any advertisements published in DeSoto Magazine do not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser’s services or products. DeSoto Magazine is published monthly by DeSoto Media Co. Parties interested in advertising should email paula@desotomag.com or call 662.429.4617. Visit us online at desotomagazine.com. DeSoto 9


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living well }

root canals

Root Canals By Dr. Adham Azim. Photography courtesy of Hernando Dental Group

No two words can strike greater fear than the words “root canal�. Every year in March during Root Canal Awareness Week, specialists called endodontists try to raise awareness and education about root canals, or also known as endodontic treatments, to help patients better understand this procedure. 16 DeSoto


E

ndodontics is the specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of the diseased or inflamed dental pulp; also know as dental nerve. The dental pulp is the soft tissue present in the root that provides all the innervation and blood supply to the tooth. Once the dental pulp gets inflamed or infected, it has to be physically removed through a procedure called “root canal treatment” and it’s space has to be disinfected and filled using a root filling material followed by a proper restoration. This procedure is designed to prevent any future pain or infection of the jawbones and will also maintain the tooth for the longest time. A question frequently asked by patients facing a root canal treatment focuses on the success rate of a root canal treatment. To adequately answer this question, we usually reply with another question: Who is providing your root canal treatment? Dentistry, as much as any other field in medicine, has become so specialized and subspecialized, making it challenging for dentists to follow up with the latest trends and techniques in all specialities. Specialists, on the other hand, focus all of their training and knowledge in one area which results in a more successful treatment outcome. Root canal treatment is considered one of the most tedious procedures in the field of dentistry. It involves more gadgets during treatment than any other specialty. It also requires skillful operators. In the past 20 years there have been major improvements in the field of endodontics from equipment and materials to techniques. It has now become the standard for an endodontist to utilize 3D radiography and use a dental microscope for better diagnosis, to be able understand the anatomy of the tooth, and to address all the small canal spaces that otherwise cannot be seen. The advancement in endodontic materials and instruments make an endodontic treatment provided by an endodontist much less stressful, time efficient, more predictable and pain free. Root canal treatment is a very predictable procedure when properly executed. It has been offered to patients for several decades with a very high success rate. In a 2004 nationwide survey that included more than 1 million root canal treatments provided by dentists and specialists, the survival rate of root canal treated teeth was up to 97 percent over an eight-year period (Salehrabi & Rotstein, Journal of Endodontics - 2004).   To guarantee the best outcome, ask your dentist to refer you to an endodontist for your root canal procedure. Make sure to ask all the questions about the success rate in your case as it may vary from one tooth to the other.  Don’t forget to appear for regular follow-up visits with your endodontist. Although you may be pain free, in some cases it may take from a few months to years for complete resolution of the infection. Your teeth are precious and an endodontist will help you save them for the longest time possible.

Dr. Adham A. Azim has been practicing with Hernando Dental Group since 2014. His private practice specialty is in endodontics and he’s a Diplomate with the American Board of Endodontics.

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notables }

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aaron petree


Overton Square, Memphis

Growing Up Together By Corey Latta. Photography courtesy of loebproperties.com

Aaron Petree, vice president of brokerage with Loeb Properties in Memphis, Tennessee, followed his success in natural rhythm--growing up professionally in sync with his community around him. His personal and professional story intersected ten years ago when he began to intern at Loeb Properties. The Loeb name has been a staple in the Memphis corporate world since 1887. With its vision to develop people and communities through real estate services and its several dozen properties around the Mid-South area, Loeb Properties’ influence on the city of Memphis can’t be understated. Neither can the importance of Petree’s role at Loeb. Petree, currently, has been with Loeb Properties since 2004. His resume is nothing short of impressive: B.S. degree in Mathematics from Middle Tennessee State University. M.S.

degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Real Estate Development from the University of Memphis, where he now serves as an adjunct real estate professor. A considerable background in both commercial leasing as well as property management. A licensed Affiliate Real Estate Broker in Tennessee, a member of the Urban Land Institute, and is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM). But like most compelling stories, Petree’s has a humble beginning. Petree started at Loeb just over a decade ago as an intern. Straight out of graduate school and thrown into DeSoto 21


Broad Avenue, Memphis.

the competitive corporate mix, Petree began to write his own future. His first desk was humbly located in the corner of a break room. Years, hard work, and recognizably quality work enabled Petree to move into property management, eventually working his way into a position to handle all of Loeb’s leasing. As Petree’s personal story developed, so did Loeb’s, and Petree would find himself involved in historic projects that would define Memphis for years to come. One of Petree and Loeb’s most prominent and profitable projects is the redevelopment of Memphis’s Overton Square. A nationally known epicenter for cultural trends in music, restaurants (even boasting the very first location of TGIF), and night life, Overton Square was the heart of Memphis social life in the 1970s. The 1990s and early 2000s saw a decline of the Midtown hot spot, as businesses and dining establishments slowly vacated the area. Loeb’s visionary development would bring a definitive end to that decline. Around four years ago, Loeb began planning for a major overhaul of the area. Unlike previous attempts to revive the area, Loeb wanted to do it right by the locals. “The opinions and approval of the Midtown community was really important to us and we went to the general public for input,” Petree said. Receiving this stamp of approval was important to Loeb and to Petree, as the Midtown community opposed previous development plans. But because of Loeb’s sensitivity to Midtowners’ love and vision for the famed Square, Mid-South locals appreciated and accepted the proposed revitalization plans. “Redevelopment of Overton worked within the parameter of those buildings that wouldn’t be changed, that were permanent in the area, places like Playhouse on the Square and Studio on the Square movie theater,” Petree said. Midtowners liked Loeb’s vision for the area and a massive development program began. Loeb’s original vision was to 22 DeSoto

make the area restaurant and artsy centric, but the popularity of the project took on a life of its own. “Because of Overton’s success, we had the rare opportunity to be deliberate about the businesses we leased to,” Petree said. “We wanted to lease to businesses that would overlap, compliment each other, and enhance the area.” So a recreated, locally-minded Overton was underway, thanks, in large part, to Loeb Properties. Petree’s time at Loeb has developed into an inspiring story of growth and one that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. Petree and Loeb Properties are busy about Memphis and the surrounding areas by leasing property, influencing people, and helping to shape the Mid-South.   As with Overton Square, Loeb’s role in the development of the city continues to prove invaluable. For example, the widely known and celebrated revitalization of Broad Avenue, an upcoming project developing in tandem with the Binghamton Corporation, will renew a much loved area of the city. Broad Avenue, like Overton Square, is home to some of Memphis’s hottest spots, like The Cove, a popular cocktail and oyster bar, Wiseacre Brewery, and Broadway Pizza. Loeb, which owns several warehouses up and down Broad, will enjoy the same influence in shaping sought after real estate, which can only mean good things for Memphians. “We want to build up communities and draw people into these popular spots. We want people to enjoy themselves at our properties,” Petree said. Community building, the very heart of Loeb’s vision, is an unending chapter in Petree’s personal and professional story, a story that will, no doubt, continue to grow.


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exploring art }

keith dotson

Crockett Theater Marquee - Lawrenceburg TN

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Carriage House and Chapel on American Prairie Built 1840

Intent to Shoot By Karen Ott Mayer. Photography courtesy of of Keith Dotson

When talking with Nashville-based photographer Keith Dotson, it might be easy to characterize his images as just another set of black and white photos. Here’s a guy, a career art director, who one day decided to pick up a camera. But then, the images appear and it’s hard not to want to study every single one. While Dotson’s rich portfolio covers places, structures and landscapes, the results come from his decisive thoughts formed long before the click of a shutter. DeSoto 25


Rutledge House - Charleston

Art itself has played a major role is his everyday work since he was young. “I’ve always been drawing and painting. I really wanted to be a political cartoonist but found out that was based more in journalism, so that part didn’t interest me.” Instead, he moved towards graphic design, spending his career as a art director when he would occasionally use his own photographs “in a pinch”. “Graphic design was a refuge for me,” he said. His work required continual collaboration and the sharing of an artistic process. Like many artists, over time he craved work to call his own and with full influence. And he began a new journey 10 years ago. “I used to take a trip and take the usual pictures. Ten years ago, I went to Boston and while there, started shooting with intent. Digital photography got me excited but I didn’t know a lot, but I did know Photoshop from my work,” he said. Ealier works were in color as well. Over time, that changed. “Black and white felt more pure,” said Dotson. As time passed, Dotson knew he had found his calling. “Everything came together with photography.” And as his work matured, he began to follow a few themes including landscapes, architecture and people. People? “There are no people in my pictures, but I feel like they are about people because the images involve landscapes or architecture or places where people 26 DeSoto

Abandoned Church - Louisville

have lived or impacted. For instance, a photo may only be of a placid scene of river and snow, but maybe a battle took place there.” It’s that same intent that led Dotson to photograph more old buildings and structures. Again, his eye leads him to look at things others may not see. “I love old buildings because there is a lot of texture and a feeling of people who lived there or would still go there on a daily basis. When I look at a building, I’m seeing abstract blocks or shapes. I love something with history or a patina.” While he has photographed prominent structures, he’s just as comfortable capturing an abandoned old house in a field. In certain settings, he even feels different. “Sometimes when I’m photographing a place, it’s like I can feel people all around me. I don’t mean just in the sense of there are a bunch of ghosts or the place is haunted, but I do feel the presence of people who were there.” He remembers particularly a church in Louisville that is part of his Kentucky collection. “This church is abandoned and when I found it, I was fascinated by the level of detail and care that you don’t see anymore in buildings. Later, I found out it was built right after the Civil War and had a lot of history with secessionist and strife which I didn’t know at the time I was photographing it. I felt like there were people there.”


Dotson never really thought about selling his photos. He started playing around with Etsy, mostly with the idea of selling a photo to maybe buy a new lens. “I was selling a picture for $20, really reasonable.” In 2009, however, a page turned that led him further down the road. A man contacted him about wanting to license a photo to print on a one-time press run. “I was shocked,” he said with a laugh. That move, however, gave him greater exposure. While living in Wisconsin for five years, Dotson began showing in a local gallery. “While there, I got a call from a local gallery who asked me to show.” Subsequently, he also began showing at a gallery in Los Angeles who also represented him to the movies and film industry. With that connection, his photos began appearing on film and T.V. “It impresses my daughter that one of my photographs is in a Wendy’s commercial hanging on a wall. Dotson explained that photographs are sourced in the industry just as any prop for a scene would be used. Dotson still thinks about those places he’d like to explore and photograph. “I’d like to get to Charleston and New Mexico.” As far as the craft itself, he believes persistence through the learning stages is key to success. “I know people who have tried something but before they’ve found success, they give up. I’m pretty much self-taught but I work and am persistent. I want to learn about other photographers, the history, the tools…whatever you’re doing, you have to love it and do it all the time.” His affable humility comes across, upon first meeting, and even in the price of his work. He keeps his prints affordable so people can buy them. He’s also accessible, both to clients and fellow artists. “I like to hear from people, to talk about my own work, the photographs they take themselves, photography in general or just life. I reply to my Facebook followers and answer emails. I am definitely a traveler on a journey exploring the world the only way I know how.”

www.keithdotson.com

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exploring books} historic courthouse architecture of mississippi

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Courting the Past By Jill Gleeson. Photography courtesy of D. Tracy Ward

It’s not just about the buildings. Of course, they’re the front-and-center, showstopping stars of architect D. Tracy Ward’s book of essays and images about Mississippi county courthouses, “Historic Courthouse Architecture of Mississippi.” While the black and white photographs Ward snapped of the grand, graceful courthouses are undeniably lovely, the buildings serve as more than a pretty face. They are also a lens through which Ward looks at Mississippi history. “HCA is about how each county was created and how its shape was chosen,” Ward explained. “And then of course it’s about the architecture – the style and elements of it, as well as who the architect was.” Ninety-five entries fill the tome, covering the state’s 82 counties – including 10 dual seats – and a few structures that are no

longer courthouses but still, as Ward mused, “have stories to tell.” Edited by Todd Sanders, architectural historian with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, “Historic Courthouse Architecture of Mississippi” contains an introduction by academic scholar Bill Potter. Potter, said Ward with a smile, “wrote basically 500 years of Mississippi history in 10,000 words. So it’s not only a beautiful book, it’s DeSoto 29


also informative and accurate.” Just don’t expect to see any courthouses erected past the mid-20th century in it. While Mississippi has lost some of its original courthouses over the years, Ward chose to skip the replacements and focus entirely on older structures, which he believes tend to be more classically beautiful. But sometimes not even a photograph of the building remains, as in the case of the courthouse that once graced Livingston. Designated the county seat in 1829, the wee burg lost that status just four years later to Canton, when the railroad came to that town. Ward includes the hopeful, long-ago drawing for Livingston’s city plan in his book above the melancholy 30 DeSoto

observation, “Today little remains of Livingston except for sunken roads and the old cedar trees that surrounded the brick courthouse.” Unexpected entries such as this are sweet, small gems scattered amongst the book’s larger pleasures. Ward, who grew up in Columbus, Mississippi, graduated in 1987 from Mississippi State University’s School of Architecture. In 1993 he co-founded Benchmark Design, which has offices in Jackson, Mississippi, and Atlanta, Georgia. Ward lives in Atlanta with his wife, Kimberly, also an architect, and their four children, Natalee, Dakota, Alexa and Noah. It was while Ward was traveling the backroads of Mississippi in 2009 that he came up with the concept for “Historic Courthouse


Architecture.” He spent the next three years researching, writing and photographing, finishing the book in 2012. Published through the American History Guild and available on the group’s website, “Historic Courthouse Architecture of Mississippi” is the first in what Ward intends to be a series dedicated to the classic courthouse architecture of the Southeast. So far, so good; the initial volume counts fans such as Mississippi Supreme Court Justice William Waller, Jr. who ordered boxes of books to give out as Christmas presents. Last year it received a 2014 Heritage Award for “Preservation Education” from the Mississippi Heritage Trust. Ward is currently at work on a new edition of “Historic Courthouse Architecture of Mississippi”, which he hopes to release as an e-book in the fall. He’s also set to publish his second volume, “Historic Courthouse Architecture of Alabama” in e-book form this month. Ward’s work on the latter book, he says, taught him just how lucky Mississippi is to have so many classic courthouses still standing. “The state of Alabama went on this massive tear, literally, in the 1950s and 60s,” Ward noted. “In the name of progress they started tearing down their old courthouses and building new ones, which they regret today. During that era Mississippi was still pretty poor and they couldn’t have done that even if they wanted to. Half of my Alabama book is historical images, because the nicest buildings don’t exist anymore. But Mississippi was really big on preservation and they still have almost all their courthouses that are from an era gone by. It’s wonderful.” For more information or to purchase a copy of “Historic Courthouses of Mississippi,” visit theamericanhistoryguild.com

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into the wild } sailing

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Setting Sail on Arkabutla Lake Story and Photography by James Richardson

It’s been said that Arkabutla Lake which spans DeSoto and Tate Counties in north Mississippi is the “windiest lake south of Chicago.” Is that true? It depends on the source. FedEx’s Mike Wroten, a technical advisor with a degree in Meteorology from Texas A & M University tends to believe not. Sailors say otherwise. “The winds on the lake would not be that different than in Memphis and the climate does not support this. It is

much windier west of here especially in Texas and Oklahoma as the winds blow so hard, and frequently, out of the south that many trees grow bent towards the north. I don’t think there would be any micro-climate phenomena going on here. The data does not support it. Even Chicago is not the windiest city....except for what comes out of politicians mouths there.” DeSoto 33


At any rate, Arkabutla Lake makes for great sailing, and for that matter, a lot of other activities also. The lake is home to several species of native fish, like large mouth bass, bream, catfish, and especially large crappie, which the lake consistently produces. There are also three campgrounds suitable for RVs, swimming areas, picnic tables, eight boat launching ramps, and hiking and biking trails. Many visitors come to enjoy the open waters of the lake with boats of all kinds. The lake is located just 30 minutes south of Memphis and southwest of Hernando. Arkabutla Lake was created when the Coldwater River was dammed for flood control by the Corps 34 DeSoto

of Engineers. The development of Arkabutla Dam required the relocation of the entire town of Coldwater, Mississippi in 1942. The water level of the lake varies considerable during the year. The lake’s normal summer pool is just over 11,000 acres. During the fall and winter months the lake is gradually drawn down to a winter pool of 5,000 acres. Damon Linkous, a Delta Sailing Association member since 1992, sails the lake. “The biggest challenge at Arkabutla Lake is its water level.� And on the subject of the wind at Arkabutla he added.


“There are rarely days with no wind.” Damon is webmaster of www.thebeachcats. com, a website giving advice on catamaran sailing, and www.deltasailing.com, the site for the Delta Sailing Association. Delta Sailing Association (DSA) was established in 1949, and leases land from the Corps of Engineers at Hernando Point on the north shore of Arkabutla Lake. Club members can leave their boats on the leased area and trailer launch on the boat ramp adjacent to DSA lot. Tim Grover, vice commodore of DSA, explained about the association. “Delta Sailing Association has multiple types boats, but I am primarily the catamaran organizer. I’m basically the new guy on the block. I’ve been a member for five years. Five years ago when I started, it was only Damon Linkous and I. None of these other boats were out here. Just me and Damon. I’ve only been in the Mid-South for ten years. My Dad was in the service, and my parents retired here and I decided this was the place to be. Now that the sailing is starting to kick in, it makes it more fun.” Interest in sailing has grown. “There are probably 40 of us who have boats here now and about 20 are active. At certain times of the year, when it starts warming up, it gets more active, so we might have 35 people active in mid summer. And there are a couple regattas when everybody shows up. So we might have 60 people out here. You know, four per boat.” During the summer months, there is sailing every weekend.   “We try to help people get out on the water and have a good time. Sailing is an inexpensive sport and very rewarding. It promotes families hanging out together.” The most common and most active sailboat in the club is a 16-foot Hobiecat. Grover explained, “They still make them new, or one could be picked up for around $1600 -- ready to go. The bigger boats hold more people and you stay drier. They perform best with about 300 to 350 pounds of people on them. “This is a racing club. They set buoys out there and teach you how to go back and forth. It makes you learn how to control your boat and improve your skill and getting the most out of the wind. It helps perfect your steering and turning. That’s really what it is good for.” All the members of Delta Sailing agreed with the vice commodore’s final comment.

“But a lot of time we just sail out there for fun.”

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exploring cuisine } avocados

Avocado y Huevos Caliente

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Amazing Avocados By Bobby L. Hickman. Photography courtesy of tastefoodblog.wordpress.com

Anyone for an alligator pear? As the hottest fruit right now, more people probably know this little green power food as the avocado. While the original name may not have stuck, the popularity and health benefits makes it a favorite fruit for everyone. Well, maybe not everyone. Peel away the flesh of a ripe avocado, dig out the pit, and you’ll find creamy, pale yellow-green flesh inside. Whether that’s an appealing image is a matter of personal preference. The taste is nutty but not strong, so some folks find avocados rather bland. The silky soft insides can also seem mushy. Avocados do not ripen until after they are picked, so waiting for

the right time to peel an avocado can be a guessing game. Avocados originated millions of years ago in the Americas. They date back to the Cenozoic era, when mammoths and giant ground sloths distributed their seeds across the continent. But after the beasts died out 13,000 years ago, avocado groves declined. DeSoto 37


They have been a staple in Mexico, Central and South America since 500 B.C. (Their name comes from the Aztec word, “ahuacate.”) Although the Spanish found avocados in the New World in the 16th Century, they were not cultivated commercially until the early 20th century in the United States. The first avocados were grown in California in 1914. Now, some 95 percent of the avocados grown in the United States come from California, with the rest coming mostly from Florida and Hawaii. However, most avocados are imported: Mexico is the top global producer of avocados, followed by Chile, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic and then the U.S. For decades, the avocado was known as the “alligator pear” a reference to its bumpy, olive-colored skin. Growers associations complained as early as the 1920s that the common name was not appealing to consumers. They began a decadeslong campaign to rebrand the alligator pear as the avocado pear or the butter pear. Those names eventually gave way to the more exotic-sounding Aztec name, “avocado”. Over the years, avocados slowly expanded from an expensive luxury food little known outside the Latino community to a mainstream staple. The big boost for the avocado industry came in the 1980s as experts urged Americans to reduce their fat intake by cutting out saturated fats. Producers positioned avocados as a healthier food choice, and nutritional research bore out those claims. For the past 15 years, U.S. avocado sales have grown virtually every year, reaching a record 4.25 billion avocados consumed in 2014. More than any factor, it’s the healthy attributes of the avocado that caused it to sweep the country. It’s no wonder that avocados are popping up everywhere -- and not just in 38 DeSoto

traditional dishes like guacamole. Some folks eat them “nearly naked” with a little lemon juice, paprika, balsamic vinegar, or other favorite seasoning. You can spread it on toast or make an avocado dip. Try topping your garden salad with a few slices, or combine it with berries, apples and mangoes for a great tasting fruit salad. Avocados are also a popular topping for pizzas, burgers, wraps, and sandwiches such as, BLTs. Chefs are adding avocados to pasta, stir fries, vegetable dishes, omelettes, potato salad, desserts, ice cream, and baked goods. Just about any dish that contains fruits or vegetables can be enhanced with avocados. Granted, not everyone will go for the texture and taste of a freshly-peeled avocado. But with adventurous cooks adding “alligator pears” to all types of culinary adventures, almost everyone can find a way to enjoy nutritious avocados.

Benefits

• Packed with antioxidants • Low in sugar • Avocados contain over 20 vitamins and minerals, including potassium, antioxidants, and Vitamins B, C and E • Packed with fiber • Enzymes aid digestion • Contain the “good” fat that lowers cholesterol


RECIPE: AVOCADO-BLUEBERRY MUFFINS (Makes 12 muffins) (MUFFIN BATTER): 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 ripe avocado, seeded and peeled ⅘ cups sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup plain yogurt 6 oz. (1-1/4 cup) fresh blueberries (STREUSEL TOPPING) ¼ cup flour ⅓ cup sugar 3 Tablespoon butter, softened 1 teaspoon cinnamon • Make the streusel topping: Whisk flour, sugar and cinnamon together. Add butter. Mix in using your fingers to rub the butter into dry ingredients. Set aside. • Preheat oven to 385 degrees. • Line muffin tin with 12 paper liners. • In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. • Spoon avocado into a stand mixer and beat until almost smooth. Add sugar and beat until well blended. • Add one egg, beating until completely combined. Add vanilla and yogurt; mix well. • Put flour mixture into a sifter. Sift half of the mixture into the batter and mix until just combined. Then sift in remaining flour and mix until just blended. Gently fold in the blueberries. • Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, divide the batter among the 12 cups. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the batter in the cups, dividing evenly. • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a wooden tested comes out clean. Let cool for five minutes before removing. • Serve warm or at room temperature. --Recipe courtesy California Avocado Commission

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exploring destinations } savannah, ga

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Savannah College of Art and Design


Forsythe Park

Savoring

Savannah Story and Photography By Lili DeBarbieri

Romantic Savannah enchants with its historic architecture, graceful squares, and a thriving cultural scene. It has been called “America’s first planned city”, but exploring Savannah, Georgia can take on anything but a planned feeling. Mystical and romantic, the city’s rich culture entices everyone from literary minds to historians. Inspiration here does not have to be chased down (sorry Jack London). Perched on a 40-foot-high bluff overlooking the Savannah River, Savannah was established in 1733 as the last

of Britain’s colonial capitals in America. Laid out by General James Oglethorpe in a repeating grid of varying block styles. The design included six public squares—by the mid-19th century, that number had increased to 24 providing Savannah with abundant open space. The ubiquitous Spanish moss-draped trees around the city create the atmosphere of an urban forest, but the city has just as dense a population of notable architectural structures, DeSoto 41


The Mercer House

among them the circa 1819 Owens-Thomas House, now a museum, which is considered one of the finest examples of Regency architecture in the U.S., and the neoclassical-style Telfair Academy, a 19th-century mansion that’s now a gallery of 18th and 20th century art. Today, the historic district encompasses more than 2,300 significant properties within an area of about 2.5 square miles. Savannah’s 22 squares each have their own distinctive personality. Architecture buffs flock to Chatham Square, with its 15 beautifully restored four-story townhouses. A few blocks away on Monterey Square, you’ll find Mercer House, built by songwriter Johnny Mercer’s great-grandfather and made famous by the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” The book turned the spotlight on Savannah’s myriad charms and launched a migration that has yet to die down. And for tourists, transplants, and locals alike, the city’s offerings are increasingly cosmopolitan. There’s Lafayette Square, where author Flannery O’Connor lived and wrote; two blocks west, Madison Square, bustles with activity. Johnson Square, the city’s first, lies next to Ellis Square. Although the bench is missing, film lovers will recognize Chippewa Square from the movie “Forrest Gump”.

Historic Homes

Girl Scouts of all ages near and far will want to check out the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts, where a yearlong renovation finished two years 42 DeSoto

ago. Slated for demolition in 1955, the Isaiah Davenport House on State Street was the first structure saved from the wrecking ball by the Historic Savannah Foundation, triggering the city’s restoration movement. The mansion’s most striking feature is its magnificent hanging elliptical staircase. Considered one of the best examples of the simple, elegant English Regency style in America, the 1819 Owens-Thomas House is filled with details such as Greek key moldings and a brass inlaid staircase.

Towards the Future

Since the publication of the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has reshaped the cultural and architectural landscapes of the city via its sprawling campus of lovingly restored buildings, including the once dilapidated antebellum train station that now houses the spectacular SCAD Museum of Art. Devised by acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie, the Jepson Center for the Arts, devoted to contemporary works, opened in 2006. The Jepson Center is home to the Telfair’s Kirk Varnedoe Collection, a cornerstone of the museum’s contemporary holdings. The collection features works on paper by some of the most influential artists of the past 50 years, including Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons, Frank Stella, and Richard Avedon. Visitors will also be delighted by the museum’s diverse contemporary collection with many notable Georgia artists. But perhaps the biggest attraction at The


Jepson is the original iconic Bird Girl statue, made famous on the cover of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. Likewise, SCAD’s ever-expanding campus comprises dozens of refurbished buildings. SCAD has functioned as a virtual preservation society—the school’s repurposed edifices range from the Clarence Thomas Center for Historic Preservation, set in a former Franciscan orphanage and convent, to the international student center Habersham Hall— a stucco Moorish Revival-style building that was once the Chatham County Jail. Though the city has many quaint guest houses like the Eliza Thompson House and the Planters Inn, more modern hotels have joined the mix and are architectural wonders in their own right. For old-world appeal with up-to-date amenities, the recently restored Gastonian offers 17 rooms in two adjacent Italianate mansions near the 30-acre Forsyth Park. The city is a food lover’s paradise with low-country Southern and many cultures represented. For dinner, try the crab cakes at Circa 1875 or the charming historic Crystal Beer Parlor for its homemade potato chips and array of craft beer. For dessert, no stay in town would be complete without a walk to Leopold’s, an ice cream shop that opened in 1919 was reopened in 2004 by Peter Leopold, son of one of the original owners and a Hollywood producer. A short distance by car from the city proper, set on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River, in the 100-acre Bonaventure Cemetery, you can walk down shady lanes lined with massive live oaks and enjoy sculptures and river views that dot the landscape. Old Fort Jackson, the oldest standing fort in Georgia offers interactive tours with well-informed guides. Located just 20 minutes from the city, Tybee Island features wide beaches, creeks filled with wildlife and not a fast-food joint to be found. Beyond the beach, a network of tidal creeks weave through the marshy land, giving kayakers and canoeists smooth sailing to spy on shy turtles, dolphins, majestic herons and colorful painted buntings. In this seductive Southern city, history and modernity intertwine to enthrall history and architecture buffs, alike.

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a day away } greenwood, ms

Greenwood, Mississippi

-B-Q is the place 9:00 Bar becue for breakfast? Maybe not, but Steven’s Barbest to enjoy a full Souther n breakfast. Also rumored to have the choc olate cake in town. nner cook or 10:00 Take a class at the Viki ng C ooking School. Whether a begi like Doughs experienced chef you will enjoy this culinary experience. C lassesa mea l or and Dessert or Date Night can teach anyone how to whip up entertai n friends and family. have been 1:00 If you crave nostalgi a, head over to Crystal Gri ll for lunch.esThey s. serving up delicious creations like mile-high pies and veggie platwichfores 70andyear r Or for a new venue, Delta Bistro serves salads, sout hern sandRicketts. othe unique creations, all prepared by James Beard Nominee Taylor ing from 2:00 Str oll and shop the beautiful downtown district. Everythart. sure to antiques, clot hing and wonderful Mississippi-made gifts and thisBe bookstore stop by TurnRow Books. Wit h a cafe, lounges and back porch, auth entices avid readers and brow sers. If you’re lucky, owner and new or of “Soil”, Jamie Kornegay just might sign his new nove l for you. enw ood while 4:00 Taker a leisurely drive through the tree-lined streets of Gre rding winning enjoying some of the locat ions used in filming the Academy Awasma removie “The Help”. Filmed in 2010 in Greenw ood, the box office sh can be lived by visit ing many of the now famous sights. one of the 6:00 Dinner at Lusc o’s, long known as a Mississippi landmar kandandseaf best restaurants in the state. Some favorites include steaks sett le intooodone of dishes like who le pompan o. Bri ng your own bott le of wine and their curtained rooms for a vintage evening.

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If you have the time to stay the night, Greenwood, Miss. is home to one of the South’s most well-known hotels The Alluvian. This award-winning boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown offers outstanding dining, accommodations and spa treatments. Each morning guests are treated to a breakfast buffet on the 4th floor Terrace Room. The 7,000 square foot spa offers everything from massage to therapeutic baths or indulgent face and body treatments. Do not miss the signature Sweat Tea services. If you would prefer to sweat it out visit Studio A for Hot Yoga, Barre or whatever level Yoga suits you. Afterwards relax in the hotel lobby or outdoor courtyard before enjoying an amazing dinner at Giardina’s restaurant located on the first floor of the hotel. Executive Chef Stevens Flagg serves up steaks, pasta and seafood dishes. Save room for one of their delicious desserts like Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce or Delta Delight. For more information about The Alluvian visit www.thealluvian.com or call 866-600-5201.

For more information: visitgreenwood.com crystalgrillms.com deltabistro.com vikingrange.com turnrowbooks.com luscos.net DeSoto 45


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greater goods } mother’s day

Mother’s Day Gifts McCarty Pottery Vase $180 Cynthia’s Boutique 2529 Caffey St Hernando, MS 662-469-9026

Ronaldo Braclets $56 - $205 Blue Olive Shop 210 E. Commerce Street Hernando, MS 662-449-1520

Mud-Pie Bowl and Serving Spoons $55, $33 Sanctuary Antiques 1009 Taylor Street Corinth, MS 662-287-3770 Pamper Mom with a Spa Package from Gould’s Gould’s Day Spa & Salon www.gouldsalons.com

Local Art by Wendy Michael Prices vary Stella Ivy Boutique 4850 Goodman Road E. Suite 103 Olive Branch, MS 662-874-5208

Three E Pottery Ginger Vase $56 Merry Magnolia 194 E Military Rd. Marion, AR 870-739-5579 48 DeSoto


greater goods } festivals and concerts

Festivals & Concerts Festival Addict Tank - $30 Pink Printed Flowy Short - $34 Gold Coin Necklace - $56 Janie Rose Boutique 5627 Getwell Road Suite A5-A6 Southaven, MS 662-510-5577

Straw hats $39 Center Stage Fashions 324 W. Commerce Street Hernando, MS 662-429-5288 Fillmore Anorak Jacket $115 The Pink Zinnia 134 West Commerce Street Hernando, MS 662-449-5533 Sandals $28 - $54 The Bunker Boutiue 2631 McIngvale Suite #106 Hernando, MS 662-470-4843

Rain Boots $34 Center Stage Fashions 324 W. Commerce Street Hernando, MS 662-429-5288

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greater goods } graduation

Graduation Gifts Collegiate Coozies $25 Bon Von Gift Shop 214 W Center Street Hernando, MS 662-429-5266

Vera Bradley Tech Backpack in Rio - $108 Campus Backpack in Classic Navy - $126 The Pink Zinnia 134 West Commerce Street Hernando, MS 662-449-5533

T-shirts $30 - $40 So Co Apparel 2521 Caffey St Hernando, MS 662-298-3493

Cofee Mugs $23 The Bunker Boutiue 2631 McIngvale Suite #106 Hernando, MS 662-470-4843

Collegiate Frames $25 - $60 Bon Von Gift Shop 214 W Center Street Hernando, MS 662-429-5266

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Cosmetic Bags $20 Blue Olive Shop 210 E. Commerce Street Hernando, MS 662-449-1520


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The Bazinsky House’s front porch

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A Bazinsky House breakfast

Bed, Breakfast, & Beyond By Karen Ott Mayer. Photography courtesy of Karen Ott Mayer and Jennifer Wilson

There are those like myself who prefer to take the old and make new. It’s one thing to tackle an old chair, quite another a home or building. Anyone who loves a place or property knows the high price of responsibility. Renovations consume not only money, but time. Friends, family and recreation gets placed on hold while plumbers and carpenters become an everyday occurrence. But it’s an odd blind passion that keeps us going--one filled with the desire to share a geography and a product. DeSoto 53


The Guest House, Gulfport, Mississippi

This is where my story begins, along with a host of Mississippians who find themselves on the same road of running a bed-and-breakfast from an historic or simply unique property. For the first time ever, the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) has dedicated funds to the Bed & Breakfast Association of Mississippi(MBAB). Why? Malcolm White, director of MDA’s tourism division believes Mississippi’s authenticity ranks high. “I am very interested in unique lodging to dovetail with our statewide tourism message of real and authentic experiences. Visit Mississippi fully supports traditional hotels and motels, but also wants to offer that same support to B&B’s, Lodges, Cabins, Shacks, Lofts, Boutique Hotels, Campgrounds, RV Parks, Retreats, Tree Houses and/or Guesthouses. We believe that contemporary travelers not only want to visit and explore a destination, but they truly want to meet locals and stay as close to where locals live as possible. They are seeking real experiences from the moment they arrive, they want to learn and be as close as humanly possible to that experience they seek.” According to MDA’s March 2014 numbers, Mississippi boasts 132 B&Bs with over 50 listed as members of the MBAB. “This year we have gained several new B&Bs with younger owners who appear serious about long term operation. The vacation rental properties have gained the most, with B&Bs 54 DeSoto

next and hotels last in terms of growth in number or properties over the last several years,” said Ron Fry, president of MBAB and owner of the Devereaux Shields House in Natchez for over a decade.

The Bazinsky House, Vicksburg, Mississippi Owners/Host, Andrew and David Set high on a bluff overlooking the river, The Bazinsky House commands a downtown corner just behind the Old Capitol Museum. Built by Joseph Bazinsky, a Jewish businessman, the home largely remained in the family for four generations until Texans Andrew Dawson and David Mitchell bought it in 2006. In the field of real estate and development, the pair bought the property, following many property renovations. But this one was different. Although occupied, the 8,500-square-foot home had been used as a medical office and substantially altered with lowered ceilings and false walls. “We thought it would take a lot less time than it did. It took three years. We fired the first crew, the second crew fired us…and the third crew we all put up with each other and made it through!” laughed Dawson who handles the B&B operations. With two guest rooms, guests will find plenty of room to roam the two-story home which also plays host for events,


receptions and parties. Filled with antiques, interesting art and architecture, the home has an eclectic feel. A large front porch wraps the house and a side garden allows for meandering. Besides the massive staircase that runs the main hallway, a set of round-paneled doors spans the entire wall between the living room and dining room and amaze with their size and detail. “This wall was covered up,� said Mitchell. Breakfast unfolds in a lovely upstairs breakfast room overlooking the river--and Dawson goes all out. Eggs, homemade granola bars, fruit, sausages and more won’t leave anyone hungry. Unless, of course, Dawson is in a waffle mood---then guests will leave fully overindulged.

A bedroom at Moon Hollow Farm & Country House

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Moon Hollow Farm & Country House

The Guest House, Gulfport, Mississippi Owners/Host, Jennifer and Jason When Jennifer and Jason Wilson began looking for a property along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the pair considered many options. In the end, it was a 1906 Queen Anne home that caught their eye and dreams of a B&B began to emerge. With small children and jobs, taking on the massive renovation could have easily dissuaded them. Working with an architect for months, shopping for antiques and furnishings and connecting with others in the B&B business consumed the better part of a year. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places, and as such, the Wilsons worked within those renovation guidelines. The home’s history begins during Gulfport’s earliest prosperity, passing into the hands of the Walker family in 1906--only to be lost in foreclosure and purchased by the Selby family. With their grand opening in September 2014, today

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The Guest House shines new and Jason is busy making what he calls “art” for breakfast. “Breakfast really does look like a decoration,” he said. With five guest rooms and a short walking distance to the beaches, the Wilsons have welcomed guests who are interested in the beaches, but surprisingly, another feature. “People come for the museums,” said Jason. Filled with antiques but fully modernized with flatscreen TV, Keurigs and fireplaces, the rooms each boast a different personality and fun names like Pecan Orchard and Red Toile. In the Pecan Orchard, for instance, a blue and white scheme greatly differs from the quieter Cape Mae. In every room, no detail is unnoticed--even the chocolates on the pillow at night. “Our guests can expect top-notch level service and hospitality,” said Jason. Guests can lounge on private balconies or hop on one of The Guest House’s complimentary bikes for a spin around town.

www.theguesthousebnb.com


Moon Hollow Farm & Country House, Como, Mississippi Owner/Host, Karen Ott Mayer In 2006 at 39, I jumped off into the purchase of a 25-acre farm minutes from downtown historic Como, Mississippi. Having lived in rural California and Missouri, I always knew one day I’d return to a country place. In between writing, traveling and family, I spent nearly seven years renovating the 1923 farm house and cleaning up the property. Preferring to work by hand, my nephews and I spent countless hours taking down old fence, cleaning out sheds and tearing up the house. Despite the endless projects and ideas, I always knew what I wanted to create for guests: A true country house, much in the spirit of those found lost in a French countryside or an English village. I had stayed in plenty and knew the requirements: Scenic landscape, a garden, books, and a good plate of baked goods. Like all the other B&B owners, I have endless stories of leaking ceilings and no-show helpers to depleted pocketbooks. Laughter is the only cure for such ails. With two guest rooms and separate private baths, the 2,400 square-foot house purposely lacks one amenity: Television. With high-speed wireless and a DVD player, guests who crave a connection can still get one. Coming soon in 2015, guests will be able to stroll across seven acres, including a secluded orchard/vineyard planted with muscadines. Like others, good food ranks high on my list. While the menu of breakfasts changes with seasonal offerings, one thing remains constant. I strongly believe in pure ingredients---butter, real cream, locallyraised eggs and fresh produce. Buying local is important so we are proud to serve Home Place Pastures pork and carry soaps from Hernando’s Northern Street Boutique.

www.moonhollowfarm.com

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Michael Drummond Davidson

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Cathedral St John under restoration

Cut in Stone By J. Eric Eckard. Photography courtesy of the Mississippi Stone Guild

Michael Drummond Davidson has spent most of his adult life preserving the past through restoration work on historical sites throughout the world. The Louvre. Statue of Liberty. The Cathedral of St. John the Devine. But he wasn’t always a stone mason with a penchant for engineering and history. He was sent to military school as a youngster because of behavior issues. When he was 16, he worked on the docks of New York City thanks to his sister, who was “mobbed up.” They got her jobs as a trade show model. And because of that association, Davidson was able to get a job on the docks at 16 without joining the union - unheard of without connections. “They were very nice respectable guys – they taught us how to cheat at cards,” Davidson said of the gangsters. “The late ‘60s was the time of Vietnam and the draft;

it was also a time of an emerging new culture, and I wanted to be a part of it.” Davidson, however, was more bohemian than hippie or even mobster. Even then, the arts called to him. So, he took to the road after high school, floating around the country, picking up odd jobs along the way. He spent time as a roustabout on oil and gas rigs in West Virginia. He worked construction jobs and loaded trucks; and he caddied for millionaires at country clubs. He did it all – lived in labor camps; hitchhiked across the country; and finally ended up in the East. DeSoto 59


Washington Square Arch  masonry investigation

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On his 21st birthday, working as a miner in Pennsylvania, he nearly died in a cave-in. He lost an eye, and one leg was crushed nearly beyond repair. He credits his recovery to daily swimming at the YMCA in Hoboken, N.J., where he lived after the mine accident. After his injuries healed, his wanderlust took over again, “so I went to Scotland to drink,” Davidson said. Staying with relatives there, Davidson squeaked by with a small pension from the mining company accident. But it wasn’t enough to live on, so his family put him to work with two stone masons. “I was the go-fer, the mud guy,” Davidson said. “But it’s really where I discovered my passion. Come on, I was working next to where MacBeth is buried.” The real MacBeth, of course, not the murderous character from Shakespeare’s mind. While he worked as an apprentice in stone cutting, Davidson heard about a blossoming spiritual commune in Findhorn, Scotland, where a new meditation hall was being built. Davidson applied his newly acquired stone cutting skills to help shape the new building, using stone from a nearby wall overlooking the North Sea. In all, he stayed in Scotland for five years, not only helping build new stone structures but picking up restoration work as well. He traveled throughout Europe, working on some of the oldest buildings in Portugal, Greece, Poland, Ireland and France. By the time the 1980s rolled around, Davidson was back in the U.S., living in the East Village, where an explosion of art and bohemia had taken hold. “Artistic communes would pop up in abandoned buildings,” he said. “Artists would just move in. They were like homesteaders. At the same time, there was an explosion of restoration to these buildings.” In Europe, Davidson worked on medieval buildings. But back in the States, he worked on newer structures – yet iconic for this country. Carnegie Hall, the Statue of Liberty, N.Y. City Hall, the main building on Ellis Island. “It was a great opportunity,” he said. “I was totally honored to be there, standing on the shoulders of (construction) giants, so I treated it with a lot of respect. “On the other hand, I didn’t want DeSoto 61


Washington square arch testing and facade work

Cathedral St John - The divine restoration program 62 DeSoto


to get involved with overcare – being so afraid of the restoration because of the history of the structure. Restoration is a different animal; you really can’t compare it to new work.” By now, he was working with more than just stone. Davidson loved the science and engineering of restoration, learning repair techniques in plaster, wood, metals, cement, various types of mortar and more. “I can read a building,” he said. “I can see what causes the damage, and I can see how things are taken apart and put back together.” In 1991, Davidson’s pseudo-Gypsy blood began to call him to the road again. Enter Belinda Stewart (now Davidson), a Mississippi architect who had the same passion for restoration and history that he did. He met her in a graveyard during a conference in New Orleans, and within a year, Davidson had packed up his belongings and moved South. And although there’s not a Statue of Liberty or Carnegie Hall in the South, that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of historical structures. “In the South, each town has an historical bank, or theater, or courthouse – there’s a lot of history here,” Davidson said. “These historical buildings tell a story. And people are tied to them through the history of the town.” He created the Mississippi Stone Guild, and some of his more recent restoration work includes a courthouse in Walthall, Miss.; several downtown buildings in Grenada, Miss.; and a federal courthouse in Jackson, Miss., which originally was the town post office. In April, he and a group of historians will be searching for Gen. Thomas Hinds’ gravesite, which is believed to be somewhere north of Natchez, Miss. Hinds was military hero of the War of 1812, but his grave became lost over the years. If found, Davidson said, he and other restoration experts will refurbish the crypt or tomb. “The infrastructures are here,” he said. “But in many cases, they don’t make the original materials anymore, so there won’t be any new buildings like these. “These structures are not coming back without some type of restoration.”

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The Wilson CafĂŠ


An Arkansas Town's English Architecture Story by Andrea Brown Ross Photography courtesy of Justin Cissell and Andrea Brown Ross

Like many southern small towns, the town square in Wilson, Arkansas seems to be the heart of the community. Parades, festivals, and events often happen there. However, unlike other small towns, Wilson has something that sets its town square apart: English Tudor architecture. DeSoto 67


“Wilson is extremely unique due to the imagination of a past visionary and his beautiful wife. The story about the community of Wilson, its founding family, and the future they inspired, is one most people find hard to believe. Perhaps they would only expect from the imaginers at Disney,” explained lifelong resident and city councilman, Justin Cissell. Interesting, it is. Less than an hour’s drive from Memphis, Tenn., there it is, a town square reminiscent of an English village in the middle of rural Arkansas. “R.E.L. Wilson, Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth Beall, visited England on their honeymoon. Apparently, they fell in love with the Tudor style architecture that surrounded them. Upon their return from England, they asked the distinguished Memphis architect, George Mahan, to design a Tudor style home as their primary residence. The grounds and estate are reminiscent of English aristocratic homes. This unique home was completed in 1925. At some point, even polo matches were played on the grounds,” said Cissell. Specific characteristics define Tudor architecture, 68 DeSoto

predominantly the Tudor arch found over doorways and use of brick, stone and timbers. Enormous stone fireplaces, large chimneys and the inclusion of some type of motif, character or design on the building is common. The wilson mansion mimics many of these elements. After the completion of the magnificent Wilson mansion, other buildings in the community followed suit. “Mahan began the process of retro-fitting the existing buildings in Wilson with Tudor style facades, and all new public buildings were built in the same style. All buildings in the heart of Wilson are Tudor style, along with the old Wilson Motor Company building and the First Baptist Church,” explained Cissell. Jimmy Walker, another lifelong resident and city councilman, reminisced about the buildings being renovated with the Tudor façade up until the late 1950s. “I was just a boy, but I remember it had snowed. When the heavy snow damaged one of the buildings, they decided to go ahead and reface the entire structure in the Tudor style, “


said Walker. Today, Wilson’s grocery store is located within that structure. Indeed, the citizens of Wilson are determined to stay true to the Tudor style in the future, depending on which side of the tracks the structure is located. “While most have one style of architecture in the community that really stands out, Wilson has a couple of styles that meld together to make a beautiful scene. Directly across from the historic Tudor style square are industrial buildings that are in the process of being restored. These buildings consist of the original cotton gin, two other industrial buildings, and grain bins. A new structure, similar to the other structures, is being constructed adjacent to the cotton gin. It will be home to Wilson Gardens, which among other DeSoto 69


Wilson Elementary School

projects, will sponsor a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). A railroad track divides the two distinct styles of architecture, while not impeding the view of either. Once the restoration process is complete, along with the enhancements around the square and next to the industrial buildings, what we will have is a living work of art,” said Cissell. Visitors will be able to learn about the history of Wilson in the new museum. “We broke ground in April on the first new structure to be built in the Wilson Town Square in over 57 years. The new Hampson Archeological Museum and State Park will build on the Tudor architecture that already exists in the heart of our community. This state-of-the-art facility will incorporate all the newest modern displays and technology while harking back to our architectural history with the Tudor style façade facing the town square. The design also includes glass walls in the galleries that allow a view of the land which harkens back to the agricultural roots of our community and the Native American civilization,” described Cissell. The reason Wilson’s architecture has been preserved may be just as unique as the buildings themselves as Cissell further explained. “Most communities with character and architecture have to work hard to preserve their communities. Historically, the city council in Wilson had another unique feature that made preservation of their community much easier. Before Wilson became a municipality in the 1950s, the Wilson family owned 70 DeSoto

the entire town. Descendants of the town founder, the Wilson family inspired the design of the buildings. Once the family decided to sell the homes to citizens, they retained control of the commercial buildings, and therefore, the preservation of the community.” In 2010, the Lawrence Group purchased Lee Wilson & Company, thereby, gaining control over a sizable portion of the town structures and properties. The Lawrence Group and Wilson city council have since been working collaboratively on preservation and future endeavors as Cissell described. “The city council has enacted an ordinance where anyone who wishes to build anything must apply for a building permit, show all building plans and materials, then be approved by the city council. The council made the decision that any structure in the historic square must continue with the English Tudor style of architecture.  This decision covers what we call the gateway to the community which is the main highway coming into town which is known as the “Great River Road” or the “Cotton Highway”.  New city ordinances are not just limited to the town square, however. “The buildings directly across from the town square were also included in this decision. All buildings in this district must have an industrial look, and all building materials along with plans must be approved by the city council. At this point, Wilson has partnered with the Lawrence Group, and we have a grant writer working to obtain grants. We hope to enhance the


square with better lighting and landscaping. We also hope to connect each part of the community with walking and bicycle trails. In the future, we believe that structures in the heart of our community will fill with new businesses that will enhance every aspect of our citizens’ lives,” said Cissell. For now, though, Wilson boasts a café, hair shop, full service gas station, bank, grocery store, post office, and library, among a few other shops on the square. It holds the promise of future businesses being opened. Future openings are not limited to the museum and the Wilson Gardens; plans also include the Delta School, located at the former Wilson mansion, which will be a private charter school. Wilsonians are looking forward to the future while still cherishing the town’s historical features. In fact, two structures are being considered for listing on the National register of Historic Places. “In the past, the city didn’t have to do much to preserve the community and its architecture; however, as we grow and change, the city will work diligently to promote, protect, and preserve this wonderful community,” said Cissell. “Is there any other place to live?” asked Walker. “It’s beautiful here. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Wilson, Arkansas is located off US- 61 N in Mississippi County, Arkansas. It is approximately 30 miles south of Blytheville, Ark. Follow their progress on Facebook.

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homegrown } helena reclaimed

HELENA RECLAIMED

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Delta dwellings are being repurposed thanks to furniture makers, Helena Reclaimed. By Andrea Brown Ross. Photography courtesy of Reclaimed Helena.

W

ith the ebb and flow of industry and available jobs, many towns in America have declined, leaving only a skeleton of what used to be. Whether it’s economic restraints or antiquated ordinances, these once busy towns now face the challenge of what to do with abandoned buildings and houses, and such is the case in the Arkansas Delta. Enter Reclaimed Helena, in Helena, Arkansas. Finding purpose and function for the seemingly purposeless old housing and buildings, providing jobs, and helping clean up the community are all in a day’s work, or rather, a piece of furniture. Co-creator, Misti Staley, explained how it all began. “Reclaimed Helena started with Jan Feldman talking with me about how he wanted to start making reclaimed furniture. I then came up with the idea of using dilapidated and abandoned buildings from our community to gather the wood.” After doing some homework, Staley realized that there would be some obstacles to overcome. “I had been talking quite a bit with our city officials and code enforcer about these buildings. I discovered that it is difficult for the city to get the “go ahead” to take these structures down when people have abandoned them. However, I also found out that the city already had the go ahead on 40 buildings, but our landfill was full and there was nowhere to put the debris.” Now enter, Jay Hollowell, Helena’s new mayor. Staley and Feldman soon found others, including Hollowell, who had similar interests in cleaning up the community. A collaboration was soon formed.   “Hollowell is excited about working with Reclaimed Helena in using the wood from these structures to create beautiful furniture. He is starting a Property Standards Board that will work closely with our code enforcer on having these structures not only taken down, but the wood used by Reclaimed Helena, the bricks used by the Helena Advertising and Promotions Commission, etc.  This will save space in our landfill while also making our community safer and more beautiful.” With those first steps, the collaboration continued. “When Jan and I made the leap to start making furniture we hired Thrive to design the furniture pieces. Thrive is a local, non-profit, multidisciplinary design firm that aims

to increase economic mobility by helping people start up small businesses and also increase community involvement,” explained Staley. Co-founder of Thrive and husband to Staley, Will Staley, utilized his graduate education in industrial design to design the pieces. Staley elaborated on her husband’s designs. “Not that I am partial or anything, but he is a very talented designer. He has put so much thought into each piece. Each top has a 20 degree angle around the edge that coincides with the 20 degree angle on the legs, and the 20 degree angle from the top, down to the bottom shelf.” Staley explained her role in creating the repurposed pieces. “I get to create the beautiful accents on our furniture. I collect mussel shells from the Saint Francis River and cut mother of pearl buttons from them to create our screw hole plug, a little glimmer of the Delta. I also finish each piece in a soft, hand-rubbed wax finish.“ Not to be forgotten is the history of each piece. “Our wood has a story. Each furniture piece is labeled with where the wood came from.  It could be Central High School’s bleachers, an historic home at Market St and Columbia St, an old fence from Perry St...the list goes on.” Reclaimed Helena currently offers five pieces: breakfast-in -bed table, coffee table, artist desk, buffet, and dining table. She explained the versatility of their products. “Our reclaimed tables are not your typical, heavy, farmhouse table. Our wood is so rich and full of historic character, yet it is modern with clean lines and defined angles. The tables are unique in that our table legs fold in. This not only allows us to offer free shipping on all of our products, but it makes the moving of our furniture easy for the customer. If you love to entertain and have people over for a party at your home, our coffee table can easy fold and slide under your couch. Our furniture is easy and economical to move.” Their employees have over 30 years of woodworking experience, and Reclaimed Helena can accommodate a customer’s custom order when possible. In addition, customers will soon be able to shop their online store. Currently, they may be contacted through their website or via Facebook.

www.reclaimedhelena.com

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southern harmony } shovels and rope

Tunes to Tackle Life By Lazelle Jones. Photography courtesy of Shovels & Rope

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hey say two heads are better than one. In the case of the husband and wife folk duo Shovels & Rope, the combined voices of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst echo so many musical strains that their gritty eclectic sounds elude definition. Songs like “Bad Luck” run at a kicking pace while their signature “Birmingham” pulls smiles with its witty, sharp lyrics. One moment, they echo the protest overtones of the now distant 1960s; another moment is seasoned by the lingering influence of the British Music Invasion circa that same period. The predominant vocalizations of Hearst remind of the clarity of Emmy Lou Harris and Judy Collins. But then, loud staccato sounds remind listeners of Bob Dylan, of funk, or even...punk. This potpourri is a cross pollination of many American musical influences, past and present, for this married pair who calls South Carolina home. Originally from Mississippi, Hearst met Trent after both had set out as solo performers. In short time, the Texasraised Trent married the Mississippi girl and together their success skyrocketed. He’s often percussion, she the lead. But then, he’s standing with the guitar and she’s on the drums. When they clamp a capo around the neck of a flattop guitar and “hammer down” or when either teases the ivories of the electric keyboard or shakes the tambourine the melodies and lyrics these two artists bring to their recordings and live performances is nothing less than awesome. When asked about the epistemology of the name Shovels & Rope, it all fits. “Shovels and rope are the kind of metaphorical tools everyday folks use to tackle life’s difficulties,” said Trent. Their lyrics mirror the kind of challenges that life presents everyday. The lyrics explore slices of life that include love and loss, and that dissect the daily and lifestyle challenges that come from the American scene.   Hearst met Trent when their paths crossed after each had individual successes in the music world, and the rest is a

history that continues to be written. Now 10 years later after having paid their dues by traveling the road, the pair will perform at the Memphis Beale Street Music Festival during the 2015 Memphis in May annual celebration. With a resume that includes appearances on NPR, Austin City Limits, and the David Letterman Show, the latest building block in this musical edifice is their third album “Swimmin’”, a collage of the many different musical faces the pair wears. Swapping instruments and in mid-song taking turns “picking up the harmony” adds a dimension to music that makes each and every session a metamorphosis in real time. When asked about the future and what it holds now, the road to success is no longer surfaced in gravel. And, more specifically their strategy for avoiding the abyss that often follows hard won successes, both say they will never forget their roots and what they refer to as their “gutter days”. As a reference point these memories keep their personal lives and lifestyle along with their growing string of successes clearly in focus. “Those early days or “gutter days” must be remembered both for the struggles that immediately come to mind, but also because they were rich formative years,” said Michael. Authenticity ranks high with the pair, when recording or writing and it has paid off. In 2013, they received the Americana Music Award, Emerging Artist of the Year and Song of the Year. Having gained success and being able to look back from where they came, they recognize those years offer a rich tapestry from which they continue to draw sustenance. The melodic brew and spot-on poetic scenarios that are the hallmarks of Shovels & Rope will no doubt one day be viewed as “root music” by future songwriters and musicians. These sounds are melancholic yet hopeful, and when done, no one walks away wanting.

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table talk} vicari

It’s hard to tell Corinth, Mississippi from Vicari, Italy these days.

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Viva l’Italia! Vicari Italian Grill Story and photography by James Richardson

Tucked among a line of buildings near the heart of downtown Corinth, Mississippi, is a fast-becoming-popular new restaurant called the Vicari Italian Grill. The Italian fare has awakened the taste buds of many Corinthians, and through word of mouth and social media, has enticed diners from neighboring cities, like Memphis, Tenn., Tupelo and Jackson, Miss. and Florence, Alabama. According to the restaurant’s chef and manager John Mabry, “People come into the restaurant, sit down and see it, see the service, and eat the food. They can’t help but talk about it.” That’s the way it has been since opening in February 2015. The exterior of the restaurant blends with the facades of the surrounding buildings. But, inside is a different story. Impressive. Surprising. This is Corinth, Mississippi? The history of the building is unknown at this point. “We don’t know what the building was previously. Some of the historians here are trying to find out. Even the state records only go back to 1921 or 1922. But it hasn’t been anything for a long time,” said Mabry. The restaurant has two floors. The first floor holds the reception area and entry, the main seating area, meeting room, kitchen, and restrooms. The second floor has a bar and overflow seating. In the main floor entry there is an elegant staircase leading to the second floor and a small eating area overlooking the lobby. An elevator is also provided. “It took 18 months to rebuild the building. We know the front half was built in 1881 and they added on to the building in 1920. So part of the building goes back to 1881-post Civil War,” Mabry continued. “The idea for this restaurant was mine and Lanny Griffith, the building owner who was originally from Corinth. He was big into Corinth history and wanted to give back. That’s why the building is so fabulous -because one of his dreams was to restore buildings. He wanted it to be here 100 years from now. The way he built it makes it one of the strongest buildings in Corinth.” The restaurant’s name mimics the name of a small northern Italian town, Vicari, which is in the province of Palermo in Sicily. Mabry recalled that he had been to the Italian town many times because his best chef friend was from there. Mabry is originally from Savannah, Tennessee, about 30 miles across the border. “I grew up there. I went to the University of Tennessee Knoxville for my first degree in 1980. Back then it was called Tourism, Food, and Lodging. Now it’s Hospitality Management. When I left there, I was recruited by

the Waldorf Astoria in New York, which was my first job out of college, and I worked almost two years there. Then I went to France for my culinary degree. Afterwards, I spent a little more time in New York, a long time in Florida, and up until I moved back here, I was 18 years in Dallas -- some of it in hotels, some of it I owned restaurants.” As his mother got older, he decided to move back to Savannah. “I built a restaurant, but the town didn’t have enough population for what I wanted to do, so I moved down here and built Chop House. I wanted to keep Chop House and this one, but decided to just do one big one. We have had a lot of support here and that allowed us to grow and do tremendously well. We closed Chop House on a Saturday and opened this one on a Tuesday.” Chef Mabry recalled his own interest in cooking. “I started cooking in my great aunt’s kitchen standing on a stool when I was five years old. She was a fabulous Southern cook. I learned how to make fried okra, turnip greens, and fried chicken. This is my passion. I love to cook. And I love to cook something new.” But there are no turnip greens on the menu at the Vicari Italian Grill. The main menu includes soups and salads, classic and specialty Italian entrees, chicken, seafood, veal, beef, and a chef ’s menu which features bone-in rib eyes and lamb chops. Nothing on the lunch menu is over $10 with most averaging $5 or $6. There are three different menus -- a lunch menu served from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Everything on the main menu is available from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. at night. Guests can enjoy entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. A piano player performs on both Friday and Saturday, unless there is a band upstairs on Saturday.

Vicari Italian Grill 514 Cruise Street Corinth, MS 38834 662-287-4760 Facebook: Vicari Italian Grill www.vicarichophouse.com

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in good spirits} hemingway daiquiri

“If you want to learn about a culture, spend a night in its bars.” Ernest Hemingway Pineapple Hemingway Daiquiri

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The Hemingway Daiquiri By Bobby L. Hickman. Photography courtesy of spicysouthernkitchen.com

Ernest Hemingway is remembered as much as a prolific drinker as he is a prolific writer. His lean, masculine prose and larger-than-life personae invokes macho spirits like whiskey and martinis. But as he traveled the world, he believed in sampling the local favorites – “thinking globally, drinking locally,” as one biographer phrased it. Thus was born the Hemingway daiquiri. Like its namesake author, the Hemingway daiquiri is steeped in legend. The sugarless frozen concoction was developed at the historic El Floridita bar in Havana during the 1930s. Hemingway was staying at the nearby Hotel Ambos Mundos. One day he stopped at El Floridita to use the restroom and saw the bartender preparing classic Cuban daiquiris. He tried one but found it too sweet. What happened next depends on who’s telling the story. According to one version, Hemingway told the bartender he should get rid of the sugar and double the amount of rum. Other accounts credit bartender Constantino Ribalaigua (“Constante”) Vert – inventor of the frozen daiquiri – with modifying the recipe to better suit Hemingway’s tastes. Either way, Constante whipped up the first unsweetened daiquiri. When Hemingway approved, Constante named the new drink after the famous writer. Hemingway himself preferred stiffer drinks so he doubled the rum, a version christened the “Papa Doble”. But even as a single, the Hemingway daiquiri is not for everyone. This is not one of those colorful fruity blends you find at beach huts or Louisiana drive-through stands. Hemingway liked to drink a lot and sweet drinks slowed down his alcohol intake. (His diabetes also played a role.) A true Hemingway daiquiri has no added sweeteners, which some may find a little bland. In fact, modern adaptations add a teaspoon of sugar or 3/4-ounce of simple sugar. But if you really want to measure yourself against Papa, stick to the traditional mixture.

Hemingway did not drink while he was writing. But living in Cuba during the 1940s and 1950s, Hemingway took plenty of breaks from his craft to entertain. He brought journalists and guests like Spencer Tracey to El Floridita to share his famous libation. Six Papa Dobles made up a typical afternoon; a dozen doubles at night was common, and Hemingway held the house record by downing 16 double Daiquiris. Visitors to Cuba can still drop in for refreshments at the El Floridita. Founded in 1817, the bar stands at the end of Bishop Street across from the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana--and contains photos and memorabilia of the famous author.

RECIPE:

2 ounces of light rum (4 ounces for “Papa Doble”) ¾ ounce fresh lime juice ½ ounce fresh grapefruit juice ½ ounce maraschino liqueur Mix ingredients over cracked or shaved ice, shake vigorously for ten seconds, and strain the contents into a chilled highball glass. Or for a frozen daiquiri, combine ingredients with ice in an electric blender and blend until foamy. Serve in a chilled highball glass. Garnish with a fruit slice or cherry if desired.

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exploring events } may Esperanza Bonanza May 6-9 Marion Recreational Complex Marion, AR The 23rd annual Esperanza Bonanza is fun for the whole family. Featuring a carnival, backyard BBQ contest, rodeo, kids and adult games, golf scramble and live entertainment. For more information, visit www.esperanzabonanza.org, call 901-484-7752 or email jbtaylor62@gmail.com. Five Star City Fest May 8-9 Senatobia, MS Annual Five Star City Fest will be May 8-9 in Gabbert Park, within the national historic district of downtown Senatobia.  The event features a 5K, Car Show, Headline Musical Acts, Arts and Crafts Vendors, Children’s Activities, Quality Food and Beverages, and more.  For more information, follow Five Star City Fest on social media, or contact the Senatobia Main Street office at 662-562-8715. Overcoming Abuse God’s Way Fashion Show & Tea May 9 Cedar Ridge Events 1600 Scott Road Coldwater, MS. 4:00PM Tickets $35. For more information call 662-292-6003. 44th Annual GumTree Festival May 9-10 Tupelo, MS Free family fun all weekend long. Over 100 artists from 17 states. Featuring unique and beautiful original paintings, sculpture, jewelry and other artwork.  For more information, visit www.gumtreefestival.com or call 662-844-ARTS. Steve Miller Band May 15 BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove Southaven, MS. 7:00PM One of rock music’s all-time greats, the Steve Miller Band has sold more than 40 million records in a career spanning more than 40 years. His trademark blues-rock sound made him one of the key artists in classic rock radio. For tickets call 662-892-2660 or online at ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000. 80 DeSoto

A’Fair May 16 Courthouse Square Hernando, MS 9:00AM - 5:00PM A’Fair in Hernando is an annual event that started in August of 1974. It is now held on the third Saturday of May and has grown each year. All of the activities are held on the historic downtown square in Hernando Mississippi. A’Fair in Hernando is a rain or shine event and there is no admission fee and parking is free. Featuring local businesses, artists, kid’s zone and live entertainment. For more information call 662.280-9975 or visit www.hernandooptimist.org. Brussels’s Bonsai Annual Rendezvous May 21-24 8125 Center Hill Rd Olive Branch , MS Bonsai hobbyists from around the country spend three days with the world’s top bonsai artists learning advanced bonsai techniques and having great fun! View a schedule of workshops and a registration form online at www.brusselsbonsai.com/annualrendezvous.cfm or call 1-800-582-2593. Annual Miracle Drive Golf Tournament May 22 Tunica National Golf Course Robinsonville, MS 14th Annual Miracle Drive Golf Tournament, a fourperson scramble event which benefits The Baddour Center, located in Senatobia, Miss. Please contact Jenny Hurt at 662.366.6930 or by email at jhurt@ baddour.org if you have any questions. Down From The Hills: The Mississippi Bluegrass Championship May 22-23 New Albany, MS The State of Mississippi Bluegrass Championship begins on Friday night with Farm to Table Dinner and free outdoor concert by Sean Watkins of Nickle Creek. Saturday there will be a quilt show, shade trees, arts and crafts vendors and the best bluegrass musicians in the state coming together on the banks of the fabled Tallahatchie River and playing through the evening! Saturday tickets are $5 for the day. Enjoy competitions in banjo, fiddle, mandolin,


guitar and dobro. Located at Park Along the River, downtown. Off-site RV Parking available. For more information visit www.mississippifiddlers.com or www.mississippibluegrass.com. 3rd Annual Crawfish Music Festival May 30 Olive Branch Old Towne Pigeon Roost Rd Olive Branch, MS 4:00PM - 12:00PM Members of the South Branch Lions Club will take to the streets of Old Town. There will be great food, boiled crawfish, cold beverages, gumbo cook-off, kid’s area, arts and crafts and live entertainment. Bring your own chair; no coolers or outside food permitted. Admission $10.00 per person; Kids 12 and under free. Free parking. For more information email southbranchlionsclub@gmail.com. Kenny G May 30 Gold Strike Millennium Theatre Tunica Resorts, MS 8:00PM For tickets call 888-747-7711 or visit ticketmaster.com.

Memphis in May International Festival Beale Street Music Festival May 1-3 The 2015 Beale Street Music Festival marks the 39th anniversary of the festival which each year attracts music enthusiasts from all 50 states and a dozen foreign countries to the storied city where rock-n-roll and blues music all began. For tickets visit ticketmaster.com or call 1-800-745-3000. World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest May 14-16 Every year, hundreds of teams compete for over $111,000 in prizes and supreme bragging rights. Teams adorn their areas with elaborate decoration, trophies attesting to their boasting rights, and as one can imagine, clever and creative team names. Autozone Sunset Symphony May 23 The 2015 AutoZone Sunset Symphony will end its 39 year run with a Grand Finale Celebration that includes a spectacular performance by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, several special guests, and an expanded fireworks event. The event will take place on May 23, 2015 in Tom Lee Park. For tickets visit ticketmaster.com.

World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest

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reflections} stuff

stuff By Karen Ott Mayer

Mom called the other day and I noted a familiar exasperation in her voice. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with your father.” Even before asking, I knew where the conversation was going; It’s hard not to when two people have been married for over 50 years. I knew before her next sentence the conversation would circle around a topic so common for the modern family: Stuff. In the marital universe of comedic irony, my parents are diametrically opposed. My mother, a thrifty minimalist, likes order and no clutter. My father, a rather imaginative inventive sort whom I followed around the garage as a child, believes in hanging onto stuff because “you never know when you might need it.” Combined with the fact he has always been able to fix anything, he knows the value of that one part. As one of their four children, it’s been interesting to witness over the years. Talking with friends, what’s truly interesting is that my family’s scenario plays out all the time in other homes. Helping a friend this winter clean out an office, she lamented. “He wants to hang onto everything! If I put something at the curb, I have to do it when he’s not around or he’ll bring it back in the house.” His version of events? “Don’t show her that because she’ll throw it out!” We kids thought it humorous that my dad could go on a walk around the neighborhood and come home with the ability to decorate a room. Maybe an old rug, a table, a broken chair…whatever. For folks who view the world as my dad does, it’s impossible to let something that still has value---or can be fixed---go to waste. For my mother, she sees more junk. And 82 DeSoto

for those living in her court, they make a compelling argument against this sort of random acquisition. Salvagers generally collect so much stuff they have no idea what they have---nor could they possibly fix all the things they have acquired. They’re always going to get around to it when they have time. From my own salvage tendencies, I have found this to be an empty phrase. Perhaps the real sign of a serial acquirer can be found in their ability to actually find stuff. “Well, it’s here somewhere. I thought I had one…” Where real intervention becomes necessary is when the acquirer fails to find the thing---and then goes and buy a new one. For personalities like my mother’s, this can be nothing short of mind blowing. And then my phone rings. It’s that time of year when the whole stuff conversation could possibly be elevated in many lives. With more weddings, graduations and college moves happening, lots of stuff will be on the move---or not. The new wife will look at her new husband’s stuff and shake her head, as in my sister’s case. “His stuff was just so old and ugly.” Husbands will shake their heads at their new wives stuff.  Endless hair stuff, make-up, shoes, eye lotions, skin potions and more will crowd out their new bathroom. Moving from a college dorm, a student may discover a Cheetos collection under the bed or that he bought way more books than he ever remembers. At the end of a semester or house closing or move, we all have the same question. “Where did all this stuff come from?” It’s the unanswerable question of our time.


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DeSoto Magazine May 2015  

Amazed Anew! I’m amazed. After almost 15 years traveling Mississippi and the Southeast, I am continually amazed at the number of places rich...

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